Madam Aki-Sawyer reminded her audience that the elections are over as such the people should now move forward and give peace a chance. She said the people should take responsibility for peace in their communities because those perpetrating the violence are from the same communities.
She noted that she had made a commitment to improve municipal schools, build affordable housing, create decent place for people to do business and to help disabled people find jobs. She said these commitments will be put in jeopardy if there is no peace.
She said when there is violence everybody will be affected in the sense that development partners will stop supporting the government. Also, investors will be reluctant to do business in the country and the image that will be created will affect the economy.
The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said the Anti-Election Violence Platform Campaign had been very vital in minimizing violence before and during the elections. She attributed this to the partnership with civil society groups in organizing sensitization meetings across the country.
She noted that one was organized for cliques in the Western Area to ensure they are not used to wreck violence. Members of the Motor Drivers and General Workers Union did not allow themselves to use to carry thugs to wreck violence. Also, communities were given mobile numbers of Senior Police Offices to call on them when there are law and order issues in the communities.
‘These efforts were partly responsible for the relative peace of the elections,’ she said. ‘The cliques in particular observed the peace before and during the elections.’
She said that the new Post-Election Anti-Violence Campaign will build on the achievements of the previous campaign. As part of the campaign, the Board and its partners will be having a sensitization meeting with all the Paramount Chiefs so they can pass the message to supporters of the various parties in their chiefdoms. ‘The elections left behind divided homes, offices and neighbours which this campaign will be seeking to address.’ she stressed.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles disclosed that the Board and the Sierra Leone Labour Congress will be introducing a new programme ‘Crime to Career’ which will be targeted at cliques.
The Acting Coordinator, Civil Society Movement – Sierra Leone, Ms. Juliet Anderson said the elections have produced a President who should be given a chance to govern and fulfil promises made to the people. She said the new campaign will target the electorate.
She said the emergence of social media has had both positive and negative effects on the election. She said efforts should be made to address the challenges pose by the latter.
Other speakers include the President of the Motor Drivers and General Workers Union, Alpha Bah, the Vice Chairman of the Traders Council, Vandy Lansana and the representative of the tricycle riders. The launch was chaired by the Consultant to the Legal Aid Board, Lawyer Francis Gabiddon.